After Zakir Naik NGO-RGF deal political parties demand transparency in donations

A Rs50-lakh donation allegedly made by Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), an NGO outfit run by controversial Islamic speaker Zakir Naik, has raised eyebrows everywhere with the Janata Dal (United) calling for transparency and urging all political parties to stay away from such people.

"There must be transparency if a party receives fund by any organisation. There must be transparency for all parties...not for any one party. There must be a proper scrutiny of the funds given to like-minded people for a special reason," ANI quoted JD(U) leader Ali Anwar as saying.

"Political parties should keep themselves away from people like Zakir Naik and his organisation. If the Congress returns the amount, then this matter should be considered as closed," another JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav called for a probe into the matter. "If he has broken the law then there should be a probe. Playing `political kabaddi` is not right," he said.

Union minister of law and justice Ravi Shankar Prasad had on Friday questioned the Congress's decision to accept donation from Naik`s NGO and asked how the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation received a sum of Rs50 lakh from the Islamic preacher in 2011.

Prasad said several Congress leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, P Chidambaram, Rahul Gandhi, Suman Dubey, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Ashok Ganguly were associated with the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation back in 2011.

The Congress initially tried to wriggle out of the controversy saying it had accepted a donation, but that the money did not come to the RGF but to an allied entity called the RGCT and that the amount was returned to the IRF.

However, IRF denied that the money was returned to it and asserted that the money had gone to the RGF and not to the charitable trust and that this amount was yet to be refunded.

Eanwhile the ministry of home affairs had suspended four officials, including a joint secretary of the ministry of home affairs (MHA), a few days ago for renewing the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of Naik's NGO despite an ongoing investigation against him.

Naik is banned in the UK and Canada for his alleged hate speeches aimed against other religions and is a wanted offender in neighbouring Bangladesh.

He is among the 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia. He is also accused of radicalising and attracting youth for terror acts and has come under the scanner of the security agencies.